The Biden administration took a crucial step Monday toward approving the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm to date about 12 nautical miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., a project that officials say will launch a massive clean-power expansion in the fight against climate change.
In completing a final environmental review of Vineyard Wind, the Interior Department endorsed an idea that had been conceived two decades ago but had run into a well-funded and organized opposition from waterfront property owners near the tony island, including then-Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D), who died in 2009, and the billionaire industrialist William I. Koch.
The $2.8 billion project is set to be built several miles south of the original plan fought by the Kennedy family and will be out of sight from the family’s Hyannis compound.
The Biden administration framed Monday’s decision as a way to increase the nation’s renewable energy capacity while creating well-paying construction jobs building turbines and other clean-energy equipment.
“The demand for offshore wind energy has never been greater,” Laura Daniel Davis, principal deputy assistant secretary of land and minerals at Interior, told reporters in a news call. “The technological advances, falling costs, increased interest and the tremendous economic potential make offshore wind a really promising avenue.”
The Vineyard Wind project, which is jointly run by the energy firms Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, will consist of up to 84 turbines that will generate about 800 megawatts of electricity — enough to power about 400,000 homes, according to the companies. Cables buried six feet below the ocean floor will carry the electricity created by the turbines to Cape Cod, where the power will feed into the New England grid, starting in 2023. [Continue reading…]